SA mine fatalities ‘higher this year’

2011-05-11 09:31

Eight more miners died on the job in the first few months of this year than last year, but injuries at mines dramatically decreased in the same period, trade union Solidarity said today.

“We had 39 fatalities between January and April last year and this has risen to 47 fatalities so far this year... according to provisional data from the department of mining,” spokesperson Paul Mardon said.

Just under half the deaths occurred in gold mines and a quarter in platinum mines, he said.

Most of the deaths happened in North West, Gauteng and Free State.

In contrast, reported mining injuries dropped from 1 126 in the first four months of last year to 711 over the same period this year.

“In the light of the lower prevalence of serious injuries, fatalities should have been lower... mining is [however] an inherently dangerous business,” Mardon said.

“Analysis shows that [deaths] are usually because of poor or low risk analysis and human error.”

There was a measure of complacency in health and safety at mines with workers hearing the same safety message repeatedly, he said.

“We need to find new and innovative ways to bring this message across. Leadership needs to focus on raising motivation within the ranks so that workers will take care.” 

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